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December 6, 2010

More Products Downsized

Filed under: Downsizing,Food/Groceries,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:31 am

Earlier this year, Tropicana downsized it half gallons of orange juice. They went from 64 ounces to 59 ounces, but the container appeared to remain the same size.

Just last month, Tropicana’s big competitor, Florida’s Natural followed suit:


The package is a barely noticeable 1/4″ shorter, but contains five ounces less than previously.

When asked by Mouse Print* why their product was downsized, the company responded:

“As I hope you are aware, our major competitors had all previously made the switch. Although we had tried to maintain the 64 ounce size, we were at a big cost disadvantage. Consumers still bought the lower ounce cartons of our competitors, so to remain viable in the juice business, we had to follow suit.

As a company owned by farmers, we understand offering value to our customers. We have no control over the retail price supermarkets charge for our product. With that in mind, we will offer our 59 ounce features at a lower promotional cost, compared to the features usually run on the 64 ounce product.”

Another item that was downsized and discovered earlier in the year was Ivory Dishwashing Liquid.


When asked why the change, P&G responded:

” I’m sorry to hear that you have noticed the downsize in our bottles of Ivory Dish Soap. In the Fall of 2009, Ivory downsized our bottles because our raw materials went up and instead of charging more to the stores to handle our products we changed the size of the bottles. “

Thanks to Paul P. for the photo. Incidentally, he says the price stayed the same at about $2.42.

Cheryl from Massachusetts submitted this picture of Pastene Wine Vinegar which was downsized from a full quart to just 25.4 ounces, but the new bottle was taller than the old one. She poured the new contents into the old bottle to demonstrate just how much vinegar was actually removed.


Lastly, Jerri Q. was dismayed to find her Hill Bros. coffee had been substantially downsized, while the price stayed the same.


Thanks to all the contributors who found these examples of downsized products.  As we always say, downsizing is a sneaky way to pass on a price increase.

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  1. I love that P&G said they were “sorry that you noticed” At least their candid in their attempt at sneakiness

    Comment by Dave — December 6, 2010 @ 7:49 am
  2. I haven’t had Eggos waffles in a very long time, maybe close to a year. Last week the wife brought a box home and I popped a couple into the toaster. I’d swear they were never this thin before. I don’t know if it’s downsizing or just bad memory. I DO know I don’t care for them anymore because they are so thin.

    Comment by Bob — December 6, 2010 @ 8:41 am
  3. I was surprised to find that Costco still sells 64 fl. oz. cartons of Tropicana orange juice – 4 cartons to a box. My last visit found that they were substituted by single 128 fl. oz. plastic containers. Either one were substantially cheaper then what’s being sold elsewhere.

    Comment by Frankie — December 6, 2010 @ 10:49 am
  4. I laughed at the P&G comment, too. As the previous poster said, at least they’re honest about it.

    Comment by Samina — December 6, 2010 @ 11:07 am
  5. I use to buy tropicana orange juice until I noticed the downsizing of the package. I the started to buy florida’s natural juice because it was still 64 oz. Now I will have to find a new brand to buy.

    Comment by Shawna — December 6, 2010 @ 11:09 am
  6. “We’re getting awfully close to the range where prices would actually start falling,” Bernanke said Sunday on 60 Minutes. “But if the Fed did not act, then given how much inflation has come down since the beginning of the recession, I think it would be a more serious concern.”

    Either Bernanke is a comedian or he’s never been grocery shopping.

    Comment by Julie — December 6, 2010 @ 11:43 am
  7. Because of this blog, I’m always watching out for downsizing, and it’s good to see other consumers doing the same thing.
    I think I will be more proactive about writing to companies who do downsize, just so they know that people are paying attention.

    Comment by Sko Hayes — December 7, 2010 @ 11:21 am
  8. I first noticed downsizing about 40 yrs ago when Canada Dry Gingerale went from a qt. bottle to 28 oz and no one seemed to notice….also Wise Potato Chips did the same thing back in the 60’s and went from a 16 oz bag down to 13 or 14 (can’t remember which)….How stupid do they think we are??!!

    Comment by valerie jones — December 8, 2010 @ 1:46 pm
  9. I remember the sugar market inflating years ago and that resulted in an increase in cost of soda including diet. Figure that one out. Then sugar futures tanked and naturally prices stayed the same. I wrote (before internet) to Coke and Pepsi and got the usual blah…blah…blah.

    Comment by Rick — December 8, 2010 @ 2:44 pm
  10. Another product you can add to the list of down-sized products is Kleen-Strip paint solvents (paint thinner, lacquer thinner, etc.) What used to be a one gallon bottle(128 oz.) is now 120 ounces. The bottles are not enough smaller to notice the difference. At the price of thinner (about $7.50/bottle) that is a hefty price increase.

    Comment by John — December 9, 2010 @ 4:29 pm
  11. What we’re seeing here is only part of the complete cycle. Once sizes get to be so small that a company cannot realistically make them any smaller, they release a ‘new larger size’ at a higher overall price point but with a better unit price than the smaller size. Those customers looking for the best ‘deal’ start to buy the larger size. As the popularity of the larger size increases the smaller size is phased out and the cycle begins all over again. Since this cycle normally takes many years, people tend not to notice it. Ice cream is an excellent example of this marketing strategy. Most manufacturers are currently hovering around the 1.5 qt container size. It will be hard to drop this much more (though a manufacturer that wants to live on the edge might go to 1.25 qts) so I predict that within a year or two, we will see the re-introduction of 2 qt containers as the ‘new, larger size’ with a step increase in price!

    Comment by John — December 15, 2010 @ 3:50 pm
  12. Wow John, that’s an excellent point. I’ve never thought of that. Continue to lower the size, while keeping the price consistent then introduce a larger size with a substantial boost in price as well.

    Most of the public would not know any better as long as they keep the time difference substantial as well.

    Comment by Pom — February 15, 2011 @ 12:21 am

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